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After visiting the new David Koch Hall of Human Origins Exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History, it can be inferred that the main concept being portrayed in the said display is the important role that the environment has played in the evolution of human species. Consequently, the previously mentioned idea has long been acknowledged by a number of scientists and researchers worldwide and was cited in various scientific studies and research investigations.
Environment is a said to be the main substrate that brings about changes in the life of early humans (Smithsonian Institution, 2010). The environment being defined here includes all the living and non-living elements that affect the manner by which humans live their lives and these are characterized by climate changes, fluctuations in temperature, topographic features of the land, the animals that thrive in the area of concern, and the overall intra- and inter-specific interactions of these organisms (Sample, 2007).
One specific example of the impact of environmental activities to human evolution is seen on the events that took place in eastern Africa’s ancient climate. These events are deemed to have occurred about 2. 5 million, 1. 5 million, and 1 million years ago, periods which are also considered to be the era when important human species have emerged (Sample, 2007). These early human species are composed of the Homo habilis, Australopithecus afarensis, and the Homo erectus, humans species who were expert on the various usages of stones and on hunting (Sample, 2007).
The coincided emergence of these human species with the shift on climatic features of the Earth during these times clearly signifies an important role of the environment to the development of the lives of our early ancestors. In order to further illustrate the changes in the features of the environment that shaped the future of human species, it will be necessary to cite specific examples of the effects of climate changes on the path of human evolution. First, sudden shift in the temperature of eastern Africa about 3million years ago resulted to drastic changes in the landscape of the said area (Sample, 2007).
Researchers found out that lakes of about 300 meters deep were discovered to have been present in many regions of the area but eventually vanished as a result of climate changes and temperature elevation. A direct consequence of the said event is the death of the organisms that were deriving food and water from the lakes, an event which has resulted to the subsequent rupture of the biological food chains and eventual death of the organisms (Sample, 2007). In this case, the aquatic-based population of living organisms, like freshwater fishes, depleted and left the humans with less food for consumption.
Another notable event is the conversion of the forest landscapes to unfruitful land areas which are not suitable for supporting the growth of plants and other botanical species (Sample, 2007). Accounts on the investigations of the eastern Africa have shown that this area has encountered about 450C of atmospheric temperature which resulted to the depletion of natural resources. In the face of these occurrences, hominids tried to adapt themselves on the facets of the changing environment.
Many were able to successfully withstand the alterations in the environmental setting by allowing the development of larger brains, more powerful jaws, and more diverse food choices (Sample, 2007). Others, however, failed to adapt and evolve thereby preventing the proliferation of their genetic linkage in the succeeding generations. In general, the exhibit showed that the early human species made adjustments in accordance to the changes that happen in their surroundings (Smithsonian Institution, 2010).
Changes in the temperature gradient, water availability, and land fertility all contributed to the quality of life that the human species will have. Hence, any alteration or drastic changes on the features of these factors had brought about significant changes in human evolution. What is the theme or take-home message of this exhibit? It is believed that the take-home message of the exhibit is to remind the viewers of the importance of the environment in the lives of humans.
In connection to present issues in global warming, the exhibit serves as a direct warning of the things that might happen to the human population today if we will not take care of our environment and will allow the destruction of our natural resources. While it is true that the environment provides humans with numerous resources, it is equally important for people to take care of the environment. Humans must work hand-in-hand to prevent the abusive utilization of our natural resources and everyone must be aware of the issues that concern our Mother Earth.
Life on Earth is made possible by the numerous interactions that characterize our surroundings. Destruction or death of any of the elements on these interactions will surely result to notable changes. In like manner, it is important for humans to take care of the environment because all of us are gaining benefits from it. Lastly, the David Koch Human origins Exhibit is a simple everyone of what has the modern human species has achieved and the responsibilities that goes along with these evolutionary achievements.
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